The winners of FWD’s Gold Medals took the applause of the entire wholesale sector as they received their awards in London last night. The seven individual winners, whose jobs range from delivery driver to depot manager, were chosen by the judges for their skill, commitment and enthusiasm over the last year, and their contribution to the success of their employers and their customers.
Gold Medal Customer Support winner Rob Owen, Executive Development Chef at Creed Foodservice, has revamped customers’ menus, organised product development days, and presents new cooking techniques to chefs. He really gets under the skin of his customers’ businesses. One said: “The innovations he brings have been truly amazing, and his enthusiasm is contagious.”
The Depot Team Member award went to Gita Patel of Gilsons Foods, who has been with the company for a staggering 43 years. She answers the phones, processes payments, gets the best deals for the customers, and without her the small depot just would not function. Every customer knows her name and she’s always there on the end of the phone for them. Everyone who has dealt with Gita knows they are in safe hands and her commitment and enthusiasm over so many years has been key to Gilson’s success.
Winner of the Gold Medal Cash and Carry Manager was Brett Vigelskas of Costco Leeds. Despite running Costco’s smallest depot, Brett made Leeds its sixth most profitable. Speed of service was a focus this year but Brett makes sure the team always give time and a smile to customers. Costco has recognized Brett’s invaluable contribution by asking him to run its new outlet in Reykjavik, Iceland.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MEDALS FOR SUPPLIERS
The Gold Medal for Delivered Depot Manager went to John Attwater of Bately’s Coventry. John joined Bestway Wholesale five years ago to set up the group’s first chilled distribution hub. The depot now turns over £20million a year, up 11% year on year thanks to John’s organisation and planning skills. He has implemented a staff rewards scheme and restructured the picking process to improve efficiency and reduce waste for both the depot and its customers.
Maxine Brown of Lomond Fine Foods took home the Gold Medal Telesales Executive Award. The judges were impressed by Maxine’s tireless enthusiasm and knowledge of her product list as well as her customers. She has visited her customers to learn about their businesses and even delivered to them during busy periods. She’s been known to go to the warehouse to photograph products to show to customers, and as a supervisor she’s incredibly available and supportive of all the team.
The Delivered Wholesale Driver Medal was won by Perry Cordell of Bidvest Foodservice. Based in Wakefield, Perry delivers 600 cases a day on an average 160-mile route. His smooth driving style means he’s 25% more fuel efficient than the average driver, which results in enormous savings. His ability to sell to customers is a huge asset and in one case his rapport with the customer has seen sales grow by 10% since he’s been delivering to them.
The Young Wholesaler of the Year award went to Sarah Whiddett of Bidvest Foodservice. In less than three years Sarah has made her mark not only on Bidvest but also on the entire wholesale channel. Her drive to put the customer at the heart of decision making, development and corporate strategy has certainly paid dividends and her team’s research projects have helped shape key business decisions and initiatives. She’s often to be found at industry briefings presenting data and insight, and her skill at bringing food trends to life is a testament to her ability to drive innovative thinking.
Gold Medal Wholesale Service to Retail sponsored by Ferrero
Palmer & Harvey
United Wholesale (Scotland)
Gold Medal Wholesale Service to Caterers sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions
Gold Medal Customer Support sponsored by Boost Drinks
Lesley Dale, SOS Wholesale
Rory Janiak, Booker Ardwick
Rob Owen, Creed Foodservice
Gold Medal Cash & Carry Depot Team sponsored by AG Barr
Bestway Wholesale, Tottenham
Crown Cash & Carry, Ruislip
Time Wholesale Services, Barking
Gold Medal Green Wholesaler
Gold Medal for Digital Innovation supported by Imperial Tobacco
JJ Food Service
Gold Medal Cash & Carry Depot Team Member sponsored by Cott Beverages
Peter Davis, Creed Foodservice, Cheltenham
Gita Patel, Gilsons Foods, Leicester
Jim Sayers, Palmer & Harvey, Birtley
Gold Medal Cash & Carry Manager sponsored by PepsiCo UK
Eugene Mulroy, Batleys, Liverpool
Brett Vigelskas, Costco Wholesale, Leeds
Steve Wilkie, Batleys, Glasgow
Gold Medal Delivered Depot Manager sponsored by him!
John Attwater, Batleys, Coventry
Keith Knott, Palmer & Harvey, Haydock
Derek Moore, Bidvest Foodservice, Tonbridge
Gold Medal Telesales Executive sponsored by Pritchitts
Sharon Brice, Creed Foodservice, Cheltenham
Maxine Brown, Lomond Fine Foods, Glasgow
Tracy Douglas, Bidvest Foodservice, Lakeside
Gold Medal Delivered Wholesale Driver sponsored by Bolt Learning
Perry Cordell, Bidvest Foodservice, Wakefield
Paul Croxall, First Choice Wholesale Foods, Burton on Trent
John Leith, Lomand Fine Foods, Glasgow
Mark Mabon, Booker, Galashiels
Gold Medal Young Wholesaler supported by JTI
Gavin Brown, AF Blakemore & Son
Gavin Jones, Jones Food Solutions
Sarah Whiddett, Bidvest Foodservice
25/11/2016 - Wholesalers name their top brands of 2016
03/11/2016 - National Recognition for FWD apprentices and trainees
27/11/2015 - Cameron praises ’efficiency and commitment’ of wholesale award winners
27/11/2015 - Food and drink wholesalers name their brands of the year
All of us in this industry know that we are involved in a marathon rather than a sprint. It’s a curious kind of race, one where we can’t see the finish line and don’t al